Your brain is one of the most essential organs in your body. Because it is constantly working 24/7, it also happens to require a consistent quality supply of fuel.1 The fuel that powers your brain comes from your diet and the foods that you consume. This is why it is so critical to get high-quality and nutrient-dense foods in your diet to supply your brain with the proper fuel it needs to work optimally. High-quality foods that contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are going to help to protect the brain from increased stress levels, which can damage brain cells. After all, it has been proven that increasing stress levels and chronic stress can play a critical role in poor brain function.2
Your brain’s overall performance can be tied to a variety of factors. While age can play an integral role in how well your brain performs, so can your diet. In fact, your diet can play one of the largest roles in how well your brain is able to function. This is typically why a lot of people suffer from poor overall brain function due to the inadequacies of the Standard American Diet. This is where the Paleo diet excels. The Paleo diet and lifestyle encourages the consumption of whole foods that happen to be nutrient dense. Along with this, it encourages a diet full of healthy fats which have been proven to be effective at protecting the brain from potential inflammation.3
How Does The Paleo Diet Boost Mental Performance?
Better Control Over Emotions
One of the most significant benefits that you will be able to get from incorporating the Paleo diet and lifestyle is the ability to better regulate your mood. Because serotonin plays such a critical role in your mood fluctuations, maintaining stability on this front can help you maintain your mood. 95% of the serotonin that is produced in your body is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Because of this, the foods that you consume can play an integral role in the maintenance of your emotions. One of the main things that negatively impact mood levels is a lack of good bacteria in the gut and an inability to absorb sufficient nutrients from the food you eat. Because a majority of people consume a diet lacking in nutrient-dense whole foods, the risk of depression for those that consume a diet relative to the Standard American Diet is much higher than others.4
Less Brain Fog
Brain fog is something that a lot of people suffer from at some point in their lifetime. Brain fog is typically classified as having trouble focusing. It is always a symptom, typically, of a much larger issue. While it could be caused by various diseases including Lyme disease, it is more typically a symptom of either sleep deprivation or a poor overall diet. For this reason, anyone that suffers from brain fog purely based on diet alone is likely going to be able to experience significant and noticeable improvements by switching to a Paleo diet.
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The Paleo diet and lifestyle is capable of reducing brain fog in many ways. For those that are gluten-intolerant, you will be able to experience significant improvements due to the absence of gluten while on the Paleo diet, as grains are prohibited entirely. If you are someone coming over from a vegetarian or vegan diet, it could have been due to the lack of meat in your previous diet as indicated by a study on both nutritional lifestyles.5
Another big issue that could lead to an improvement in brain fog with the Paleo diet would be through the much more stable blood sugar levels that you would experience while on the diet. No longer would you be carb-dependent, nor would you deal with the sudden blood sugar swings common with Standard American Diets, due to 63% of calories typically coming from refined and processed foods.6
While some might experience increased brain fog initially due to experiencing something known as the ‘low carb flu,’ it will typically go away within a week or two. From that point on, you should feel much better. This symptom can occur as your body alters its primary source for energy from carbohydrates (glucose) to ketones. Ketones are effectively a byproduct of your body’s breakdown of fat stores which becomes your primary fuel source while on a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet like the Paleo diet.
Another big reason you are going to be able to achieve optimal mental performance while on the Paleo diet is because you will have much more energy to work with. Not only will you have a significant amount of energy to fuel your brain because you will be consuming more meaningful calories, but also because you will be eating naturally energizing foods. There are various energy-boosting foods that are regularly encouraged to be consumed while following the Paleo diet and lifestyle, including but not limited to avocados, eggs, liver, nuts, and more. Each of these foods contains healthy fats which can protect your brain from oxidative stress and boost brain power.7
Because the Paleo diet is much more of a lifestyle change, it encourages being active and exercising. It is proven that exercise can hold immediate cognitive benefits to both the young and old.8 Therefore, you will be able to achieve a lot of cognitive gains by simply incorporating the Paleo lifestyle in your daily life.
Another thing the Paleo lifestyle encourages is getting fresh air and forest bathing in general. While many lead busy lives that don’t allow for regular forest bathing, you can take in Paleo Air, which offers the same anti-inflammatory benefits that you would get from regular forest bathing.9 Along with this, you will be able to enjoy the many benefits of different essential oils known to increase cognition such as the ability to increase alertness with peppermint oil.10
The latest popular diet that has been gaining steam among those looking to make healthy dietary changes is the Whole 30 diet. This diet has a lot of similarities with the Paleo diet in that it encourages whole food consumption and the consumption of gluten, grains, legumes, refined sugar, and processed foods are prohibited. However, one of the biggest differences is that the Whole 30 diet is meant to be a complete reset for your body and system as a whole. Whereas, the Paleo diet is meant to be a complete lifestyle transition.
Along with this, the Whole 30 diet is much more restrictive since it is meant to be implemented and followed short-term versus the long-term and much more sustainable design of the Paleo diet. With that being said, both diets can produce excellent results as it relates to the ability to boost mental performance as a whole. The Paleo diet and lifestyle is simply much more sustainable and offers longer term improvements due to its sustainability.
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